A controversial proposal to stop births at Oswestry’s midwife-led unit (MLU) has received the support of Shropshire health bosses.
The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) met yesterday to discuss the bid which would also remove birthing options at the county’s other rural MLUs – Bridgnorth and Ludlow – meaning mothers-to-be could only give birth at either the Shrewsbury or Wrekin MLUs, or the consultant-led unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.
Alternatively, they could give birth at home.
Dr Jess Sokolov, Shropshire CCG’s clinical lead for the midwife-led services review speaking on behalf of both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin CCGs, said: “The current system cannot remain as it is because the midwives are not based in the places where they are actually needed.
“This means that one-to-one support cannot be guaranteed for women in the consultant led unit. There are also inconsistencies in which services are offered and where, as well as access issues for women across the county.”
The plans would see the rural MLUs become ‘hubs’ offering antenatal and postnatal support, scanning, and a space for women and their families to reflect on the birth experience.
However, campaign groups have hit out after the CCGs said the plans were based on views given by local mothers.
Dr Sokolov added: “I understand people may have concerns about change but this proposal is a change for the better where services are actually being enhanced to offer more support for more women close to home.
“While the proposed new model will continue to offer a full range of birthing options, it also introduces a new concept of maternity hubs across the county to bring together a whole range of maternity related services.
“We listened to mums who said the current focus was too much on just giving birth so we have worked with them to help devise a whole range of specialist antenatal and postnatal support and services.
“It has been developed with an expert midwife and also meets national guidelines and practices.”
The proposal will now be discussed by Telford & Wrekin CCG in the new year before it goes to a public consultation.